Introduction to American English Pronunciation – #79000

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Introduction to American English Pronunciation – #79000

This video will introduce you to American English pronunciation. We will review vowels and consonants and teach you how to correctly pronounce them. You will learn the difference between voiced and unvoiced sounds and how to spell the different sounds. We also introduce the “International Phonetic Alphabet” or IPA, which is used all over the world to describe sounds. Knowing the IPA symbols can help you learn how to correctly pronounce a difficult word. Finally, we will demonstrate exactly how to make the sounds. Watch this video as an overview to pronunciation.

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Here are some things you need to know about American English pronunciation and
accent:

1. Vowels & Consonants

You will hear a lot about vowels and consonants in this program. A vowel is a sound that is made with the mouth open. The letters that represent vowels are A, E, I, O, U.
All of the other letters of the alphabet represent a consonant: B, C, D, F…
A consonant is a sound made with a partial closure of the mouth.

2. Voiced & Unvoiced

A voiced sound is a sound that is made when your vocal cords vibrate.

(b, d, g)

An unvoiced sound is a sound that is made when you do not use your vocal cords.

(p, t, k)

You can test if a sound is voiced by touching your throat when you say the sound.

All vowels are made with a voiced sound, but consonants are both voiced and unvoiced.

3. Spelling Sounds

When teaching, we use special symbols to represent the different sounds. We cannot
use the regular alphabet because some sounds are spelled in more than one way, and it
would be confusing. For example, the sound “sh” is sometimes written with an “s” and
an “h” (shop), but sometimes it is written with an “s” and a “u” (sure).

4. IPA

The symbols we use are called the IPA. This is the “International Phonetic Alphabet.”
It is used all over the world to describe the sounds in many languages. It is also used in
dictionaries to explain how to pronounce the word.

5. Making Sounds

Sounds come from your lungs and move into your throat and out your mouth and nose.
Depending on the shape of your mouth and where you put your tongue, the sound will
change. Just a small change in movement will change the sound.

For example, if I make the “s” sound, my tongue is located just behind my front teeth, but
when I move my tongue to the middle of my mouth, near the top, the sound changes to
“sh.”

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More Practice
Try these related pages to help you with the sounds you might be having difficulty with:
Pronunciation Warm-ups
Consonant Sounds IPA Practice
Vowel Sounds IPA Practice

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